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Maharashtra, this GR gives 90-day limit for govt. officials to take action on any representation/ application

Dear fellow citizens,

Chief Secretary J P Dange issued an important circular to all departments of Mantralaya and all district authorities on 16th February 2010. This GR specifies that proper action must taken speedily on all applications and representations, within maximum of three months of receipt. If there is failure to do so, concerned official will be held personally liable, and departmental enquiry will be taken up against them for dereliction of duty.

This circular (in Marathi) is in compliance with a Bombay High Court Order in Writ Petition no. 8348 of 2009, seeking timely disposal of their application for compensation for land acquisition. However, the scope of the Order and the Circular is not restricted to the specific reliefs sought by the petitioner. It benefits all citizens who approach various government offices in Maharashtra for their work.

[Download this HC Order (ENGLISH Pg 1-5) & Circular (MARATHI Pg 6-7): http://tinyurl.com/Maha90dayLimit  
The main parts are underlined in red.]

Justice S S Shinde and A M Khanwilkar of Bombay High Court remarked: “It is unnecessary to underscore that the applicant would have legitimate expectation of early redressal of her grievance. Indubitably, expeditious decision on the representation or application is a right engrained in article 21 (“Protection of life and personal liberty”) of the Constitution of India. Even when no period of limitation to dispose of representation / application is prescribed under statute, it has to be done expeditiously within a reasonable time. That is the duty cast upon the officials. For, existence of power to decide such application / representation is coupled with duty to decide the same expeditiously…” (see page 2)

THE HIGH COURT GAVE CLEAR DIRECTIONS ON PAGE 3 & 4: “In our view, the Chief Secretary of the State of Maharashtra should issue appropriate instructions or circular to all the concerned officials of the respective departments, not only to the one referred above, but a general circular, instructing all the departments that if the officials are required to dispose of any application or representation under the provisions of law, they shall do so within a reasonable time and in any case not later than the time specified in the said circular, failing which the concerned official will be held personally responsible and may be proceeded for appropriate departmental action including for dereliction of duty.” The Chief Secretary’s circular was in compliance of this Order, and it says in Marathi what almost exactly what the Order said in English.

Jagdish Gaichandhani, the activist who emailed me this order and circular, points out: “Though the Maharashtra CS has issued the Circular, but the Content of the same is an Order, (read the last line of para 1 on page1) & violation of a Govt. Order is a penal offence under section 188 of the IPC. Please be aware of the severity of the non-compliance of the Govt. Order & the extent to which it can be stretched to.”

IPC SECTION 188 SAYS: Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant Whoever, knowing that, by an order promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, he is directed to abstain from a certain act, or to take certain order with certain property in his possession or under his management, disobeys such direction, shall, if such disobedience causes to tender to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any person lawfully employed, be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both; and if such disobedience causes or trends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a not or affray, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
Explanation (given under IPC sec 188) – It is not necessary that the offender should intend to produce harm, or contemplate his disobedience as likely to produce harm. It is sufficient that he knows of the order which he disobeys, and that his disobedience produces, or is likely to produce, harm.

Fellow citizens, please use this circular and High Court order to seek swift action on your matters. Failing their proper disposal within three months, you can use the circular to press for disciplinary action against the concerned officials. As suggested by Jagdish Gaichandani, you can also try to get a police complaint (NC) lodged against the concerned government officials, and then take the matter further by approaching a magistrate.

Warm Regards,
Krish
98215 88114

Posted in Activism, Governance & Administration, Politics, Right to Information, RTI Act 2005, Whistleblowers.

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